2. Public Objects and Private Qualia

The Scope and Limits of Psychophysics

  1. Liliana Albertazzi
  1. Donald D. Hoffman

Published Online: 31 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118329016.ch2

Handbook of Experimental Phenomenology: Visual Perception of Shape, Space and Appearance

Handbook of Experimental Phenomenology: Visual Perception of Shape, Space and Appearance

How to Cite

Hoffman, D. D. (2013) Public Objects and Private Qualia, in Handbook of Experimental Phenomenology: Visual Perception of Shape, Space and Appearance (ed L. Albertazzi), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118329016.ch2

Editor Information

  1. University of Trento Center for the Mind and Brain (CIMeC), Italy

Author Information

  1. University of California, Irvine, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 31 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 30 APR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781119954682

Online ISBN: 9781118329016

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Keywords:

  • hallucinations;
  • illusions;
  • interface theory;
  • psychophysical laws;
  • psychophysics;
  • standard framework

Summary

Psychophysics is typically defined as the scientific study of relationships between physical stimuli and the perceptual experiences they evoke. In standard psychophysical theory, physical stimuli are conceived as being objective, in the sense that they exist whether or not they are perceived. An objective physical world causes transducer stimulations that, via neural processes, lead to subjective perceptual experiences. One problem with the standard framework is its assumption that more accurate perceptions have greater utility. The interface theory of perception is a conceptual framework and mathematical formalism to understand perceptions that are tuned to utility. The standard story in psychophysics is that perception is useful because it is, in the normal case, a good approximation to the truth. This standard story leads naturally to a standard account of illusions and hallucinations. The laws discovered so far by psychophysics are not laws relating perceptual experiences to objective reality.